Patrick Speer was born in Los Angeles in 1961. After attending California State University, Northridge, he settled into a career in the entertainment industry. In 2003, he began studying the assassination of President John F. Kennedy full-time. He did so for 3 years, and continues studying the case, and writing about the case, part-time.
In 2004, and then again in 2005, Speer presented his findings on the medical evidence at the November in Dallas conference. In 2007, The Mysterious Death of Number 35, a 4-part video series written by and featuring Speer, debuted on Youtube. In part 1 of this series, Speer demonstrated that Dr. Michael Baden, the spokesman for the House Select Committee on Assassinations' Forensic Pathology Panel - the last government panel to study the Kennedy assassination medical evidence - was confused by the evidence and testified with a key autopsy photo upside down.
It is Speer's contention that Baden was confused because the medical evidence, as interpreted by his panel, made little sense, and was at odds with articles and textbooks written by the very members of his panel.
On his website, patspeer.com, and in numerous posts found online, Speer discusses a number of aspects beyond the medical evidence. Among the topics of discussion are the eyewitness evidence, the paraffin cast of Oswald's cheek, and the paper bag purportedly used by Oswald to transport his rifle into the building.
Speer made an appearance at the 2009 COPA Conference in Dallas, and continues to be an active presence on the JFK forums online.
Now how can this be? Does it make any sense whatsoever that, of the six pathologists to enter the archives on 9-17-77 and review the medical evidence, four - Dr.s Petty, Baden, Coe, and Loquvam - had contributed to a book written for the Justice Department only months before? And that this book was edited by the prestigious Dr. Fisher, whose findings they would be reviewing? And that of the remaining two, one - Dr. Joseph Davis - was both trained under Stanley Durlacher, an early protege of Fisher's, and a former co-worker with Dr. Petty in the New Orleans coroner's office, and the other - Dr. Earl Rose - was the Medical Examiner for Dallas in 1963, and highly unlikely to say anything that might suggest a conspiracy, and cast doubt upon the "innocence" of his former home?
And what about the second part of the panel, made up of those who'd already studied the evidence? Does it make any sense whatsoever that Dr. Wecht was deliberately isolated on a panel in which the other two members - Dr.s Spitz and Weston - were not only close associates of Dr. Fisher's, but had already gone on record as saying the evidence supported Fisher's findings?
The answer, of course, is that it does make sense--but only if you accept that the membership of the HSCA Forensic Pathology Panel and its organization was designed to protect the reputations of Dr. Russell Fisher and the Clark Panel.
Guinn's treatment of the copper test in Chemistry and Crime was even more curious. While acknowledging that the wrist fragment had far more copper than the other fragments, he claimed this indicated it was "probably contaminated with imbedded copper jacket material," and that this invalidated the test. He discusses this on pages 74-75. Well, on pages 70-71, he claims that in the FBI Laboratory specimens "are examined under magnification to ascertain whether there is any visible evidence of adhering jacket material. If there is, one attempts to remove the jacket material with a surgical scalpel." He then proceeds "In our laboratory, such samples are then further processed by immersing each sample in concentrated nitric acid for 10 minutes at room temperature. This procedure will dissolve away any specks of adhering jacket material without dissolving any measurable amount of the lead material. However, even this acid treatment procedure fails if there are jacket particles completely imbedded in the lead and inaccessible to attack by the nitric acid." Now, the largest wrist fragment, the only one tested, was tiny, only 16.4 mg. (It would take 632 fragments of this size to make a 160 grain bullet like the one purportedly killing Kennedy.) This tiny fragment, moreover, supposedly fell from the bullet as it traversed Connally's wrist. There was no copper missing, at least that anyone described, from the tail end of the bullet. So how, presuming Guinn actually performed the inspection described both above and in his September 1978 report to the HSCA, did copper get "imbedded" within the lead of this tiny fragment?
Well, on page 76 he offers up a theory. Sort of. Basically, he throws out a little fact (which turns out not to be a fact) which those reading his chapter can then use to make sense of the copper mystery. He writes that the so-called magic bullet "left no particles along the wound track in either the President or the Governor, and hence was not damaged (even though it broke one of the Governor's ribs with a glancing blow) until it struck the Governor's right wrist. Here, it suffered a dent in its nose and lost about 1% of its lead." Yep, he proposed, albeit in a roundabout way, that the copper imbedded in the wrist fragment came from the nose of the so-called magic bullet. Well, there's two problems with this: 1) the dent on the bullet nose was created by the FBI subsequent to the shooting, and 2) he knew the lead in the wrist fragment came from the back of the bullet. Yes, when asked in his HSCA testimony if it was his testimony that the magic bullet and wrist fragments came from the same bullet, he testified "Yes. One, of course, is almost a complete bullet so it means that the (wrist) fragments came from, in this case, the base of the bullet."
SO...my gosh, it appears from this that Guinn was trying to sell that a nearly pristine bullet hit Connally's wrist, and lost some copper from its nose, and that this copper then somehow got imbedded within a tiny speck of lead squeezed from the base of the bullet upon impact, so much so that the copper was imperceptible to the human eye... even under magnification. Yeah, okay... We have a magic bullet and now we have a magic fragment from this bullet.
Let's note here that in Chemistry and Crime Guinn admitted that he'd studied Mannlicher-Carcano bullet lead even before being hired by the HSCA, and that he'd found the range of copper among this lead to be from 10 to 370 ppm. Let's note as well that in Activation Analysis Vol. 2, he admitted that he'd studied the lead of other bullets as well, and had found the range for copper to be between 1 and 1500 ppm. Now, let's recall that the wrist fragment was 994 ppm copper. This means that Guinn knew, as soon as he'd performed his test, that he'd PROVED the wrist fragment did not derive from the magic bullet, or any other bullet fired from Oswald's rifle, and that the single-bullet and single-assassin theories he'd clearly subscribed to were thereby kaput...UNLESS he could find some reason--any reason--to invalidate his own test.
Well, the quickest way to do that was to claim jacket material had thrown off his count for copper. So far, so good. But there was no copper missing, as far as could be determined, from the base of the bullet. Well, that's okay, there was a dent on the bullet nose; perhaps it came from there. Only the FBI admitted they'd made the mark on the nose while performing spectrographic tests in the FBI Crime Lab...
Now, is it reasonable to assume Guinn didn't know this? I don't think so. It seems hard to believe that in his many discussions with the HSCA he would never have inquired about the nick on the bullet nose, and have been informed it had been created by the FBI.
Well, then, is it possible he just...lied? Yes, I now think so. The final paragraph of Guinn's chapter in Chemistry and Crime reads not like the conclusions of a serious scientist, but the bragging of a politician. He writes: "My findings, of course, neither prove nor disprove the various conspiracy speculations, such as someone, in addition to Oswald, firing from some other location such as the 'grassy knoll.' They do show that if any other persons were firing, they did not hit anyone or anything in the President's limousine."
Now, this, of course, is nonsense. Even if one accepts Guinn's analysis of the bullet fragments, his findings "showed" no such thing. But he didn't stop there. In 1986, in sworn testimony taken as part of a televised mock trial, Guinn actually repeated this nonsense. When asked by his fellow Vincent, Bugliosi, "What you're saying is that from your neutron activation analysis, there may have been fifty people firing at President Kennedy that day--is that correct--but if there were, they all missed--ONLY bullets from Oswald's Carcano rifle hit the President--is that correct?" Guinn eagerly responded "That's a correct statement, yes!"
Well, I'll be! Could he really have forgotten he'd found no evidence suggesting the magic bullet had created Kennedy's back wound? Or throat wound? Could he really have forgotten that at least one of the bullets was never found? Well, then, how could he claim that tests never performed on this bullet proved it hadn't hit Kennedy, or anything else in the limo for that matter?
He couldn't, and what's worse, he knew he couldn't. Here is how he summed up his findings in Analytical Chemistry, written but 4 years before Guinn wrote his chapter in Chemistry and Crime, and 7 years before he testified in the mock trial: "The new results can not prove the Warren Commission's theory that the stretcher bullet is the one that caused the President's back wound and all of the Governor's wounds, but the results are indeed consistent with this theory."
And here is how Guinn testified before the HSCA, only 8 years before he testified in the mock trial: "These results only show that the CE 399 "pristine" bullet, or so-called stretcher bullet, matches the fragments in his wrist. They give you no information whatsoever about whether that bullet first went through President Kennedy's body, since it left no track of fragments and, for that matter, it doesn't even say that it went through Governor Connally--through his back, that is--because it left no track of fragments there. At least I have never seen or heard of any recovered lead fragments from either of those wounds. The results merely say that the stretcher bullet matches the fragments in the wrist, and that indicates indeed that that particular bullet did fracture the wrist. It unfortunately can't tell you anything else because there were no other bits and pieces along the other wounds."
Guinn had completely reversed himself for the mock trial!
And this wasn't the only point on which Guinn's mock trial testimony was suspect. Upon cross-examination, Oswald's defense attorney Gerry Spence pointed out that there were at least thirty bullet fragments in Kennedy's head, and that Guinn had examined but two. He thereby raised the possibility that, in opposition to what Guinn had just told Bugliosi, another bullet was involved. When then asked by Spence if he knew the composition of the fragments he'd never examined, Guinn testily replied "Yes!" When then asked if he'd actually tested these fragments, Guinn fought back, showing what one assumes were his true colors. He snapped "No, but I know what they are!"
Well, how could he know that? And, what's more, what kind of scientist would claim, in a court of law, (even a mock court of law) that he knows the results of tests he'd never conducted?
This suggests to me that Guinn knowingly misrepresented his test results to the HSCA, knew it was only a matter of time before his fellow scientists caught on, and attempted to obfuscate the issue by further misrepresenting the case for a single-assassin in articles like the one in Analytical Chemistry, in books such as Chemistry and Crime, and in public appearances like his testimony in the 1986 mock trial.
Let's put this in its proper perspective. Lyndon Johnson was a real person, and a real politician, with real ambitions. In 1960, he had run for the Democratic nomination for President against Kennedy, and had unleashed a series of vicious attacks on Kennedy when it looked as though Kennedy was gonna win. (Adlai Stevenson was later to say that these were the most vitriolic attacks on Kennedy he'd ever heard.) As part of his campaign strategy, Johnson had even tried to cast doubt on Kennedy's fitness for office. To do this, Johnson's campaign manager hired private investigators to uncover the truth about Kennedy's health problems. He then began a rumor campaign designed to make people wonder if Kennedy wasn't too sick to serve out his term. (One source, Kenneth O'Donnell, in his 7-23-69 interview for the Johnson Library, put it a little more bluntly. He claimed that LBJ's campaign manager had put out the word that Kennedy "had Addison's disease and couldn't serve out the term" and that "if he was elected he was going to die.") As the situation grew increasingly desperate in the Johnson camp, moreover, one of his mouthpieces, India Edwards, publicly proclaimed what Johnson had--according to writer Gore Vidal, who'd met with Johnson at the Democratic Convention --been saying in private, namely that "Kennedy was so sick from Addison's disease that he looked like a spavined hunchback." This, no surprise, prompted a response from the Kennedy camp. They issued a series of statements claiming that Kennedy's adrenal dysfunction-- which they'd correctly claimed was not what was classically known as Addison's disease--was in fact under control, with an occasional need for medication.
But there's no evidence Johnson believed this. Perhaps then, when Johnson ultimately accepted Kennedy's offer of the Vice-Presidency at the convention, he believed the words of his campaign manager and felt certain Kennedy was on borrowed time. If so, then perhaps, just perhaps, by November 1963 he'd grown tired of waiting for Kennedy to die. These thoughts were undoubtedly on the minds of more than a few...
Particularly as Johnson's campaign manager in 1960, the man who'd conducted an investigation into Kennedy's health problems, and who'd predicted Kennedy's imminent demise, was, in 1963, Kennedy's host on his fatal trip to Dallas, the Governor of Texas, John Connally...